Oleksandr Usyk Hell-Bent On Getting His World Title Shot
When it comes to boxing for the new year, a showdown between unified IBF/WBA ‘Super’/WBO World Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) and WBC World Heavyweight champ Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) is the fight fans desire the most.
Anticipation for the bout began in June of 2020 when the two big men agreed in principle to a two-fight deal for 2021. Following Joshua’s 7th round TKO win over Kubrat Pulev in December of 2020, both camps have been hard at work behind the scenes. A big hurdle in the negotiating process is cutting through boxing red-tape and regulations. That includes dealing with mandatory opponents set by a particular sanctioning body.
Such is the case when it comes to Joshua. He certainly wants to fight Fury, but there is the looming issue of Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13, KOs), his WBO mandatory heavyweight challenger. It’s an obstacle that must be cleared, one way or another. For Fury – Joshua to be an undisputed heavyweight championship title fight, Usyk would have to step aside and not exercise his mandatory clause. However, by rule, he is in line to be Joshua’s next world title defense. He also has the backing of the WBO. They have asserted they will not let Joshua delay a match against Usyk without Usyk’s consent.
AFTER SOME CONSIDERATION
Now the question becomes, will he step aside, or not? Initially, the former undisputed World Cruiserweight champ said no. However, following his win over Dereck Chisora on October 31, 2020, Usyk seemed to leave a window open for that possibility. Even he recognizes the significance of a fight between Joshua and Fury.
Nonetheless, Usyk now seems more adamant than ever about getting his shot. As his promoter, Alexander Krassyuk explained to Sky Sports, they will not kowtow to anyone.
“There were talks about an interim title or the AJ vs Fury winner relinquishing the WBO title the next day [after they fight].
But as for today, Usyk is the WBO mandatory and never gave his consent for the [Joshua vs Fury] bout to happen without him.
Usyk is in good condition now, he successfully recovered from his last fight and looks forward to [fighting for the title] this spring.
Usyk has no intentions of biding his time with an extra fight before challenging for the WBO belt. A non-title fight has never been under discussion and I really hope it will never be.”
DRAWING A LINE IN THE SAND
Joshua and Fury are going to happen this year, come hell or high water. It is just a question of whether all of the belts will be on the line when it takes place.
Will Usyk stand on his square, forcing Joshua to vacate the WBO title, or can he and Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, knock out an agreement for Usyk to accept step-aside money? This issue is far from being finalized.
Stay tuned to 3KingsBoxing for the latest developments.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.